The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
Volume II, Number 24 (New Year's Edition) Jan. 3, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors
You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.
Table of Contents
10 Daily Learning Habits
Start the New Year Re-Organized
10 Tips for Better Family Life
20 Questions for New Year's Course Corrections
Beyond Phonics Reading, Spelling, and Vocabulary
Worship Guitar Class Videos
Grapevine Bible Studies Program
Child Ministry Bible Study Program
Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote
Happy New Year!
We interrupt our 15-Part Basic Skills Series to bring you
some suggestions and encouragement for starting the new year.
This newsletter contains four different approaches for "home
improvement" that can provide inspiration for a fresh start or
for needed course corrections as we begin a new year.
Included are 10 daily learning habits that take only a few
minutes each; 7 tools for household organization, 10 tips for
better family relationships; and 20 questions for evaluating
progress and planning new steps toward comprehensive home-school
May you seek and find the wisdom and strength freely offered
by our wonderful Lord as you teach and train your children for His
glory in 2003.
for Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a home-school family business
produced in our home since 1980.
Daily Learning Habits
Some learning activities (apart from your regular curriculum)
could become beneficial habits, as regular as eating, sleeping, and
brushing your teeth. The nine academic habits below can each be
done in a few minutes.
How much can your children learn in 5 minutes? Not much?
But what if it was 5 minutes, 9 times a day, 5 days a week, 50
weeks a year?
That is 11,250 minutes or 187.5 hours in a year! Little bits
of time "found" in your daily schedule can add significantly to
your child's knowledge and supplement your regular curriculum.
The secret is to use the power of habit and tie 5-minute
learning activities to other regularly scheduled events. Small
amounts done regularly for many years add up to quite a bonus.
1. Bible Reading
In just 5 minutes per day you can read the entire New
Testament through in a year -- a minimum requirement for Bible
knowledge. This can be done with your daily family devotional
time, bedtime, mealtime, or story time.
For a Bible reading schedule see
2. Bible Memory
Take 1 or 2 minutes before each meal to say a Bible memory
verse together. It is easy to learn one verse each week in this
manner -- 50 per year; 600 from K to 12th grade.
You may also want to do the same with good poetry.
3. Basic Math Facts
Take 5 minutes to drill the basic math facts before each
math class. All success in mathematics depends on instant recall
When your child is first learning the math facts, work on
just one a day, plus review. After they have been learned,
practice will seal them in his memory.
Download and print Triangular Math Facts Cards at
4. Practical Math
Apply math concepts to problems related to your daily life
(e.g., cooking, shopping, home maintance projects). See who can
notice such an opportunity each day.
Before or after language arts class, open the dictionary,
place your finger on any word and move it down to the most
appropriate word to learn, or use a word list such as the one
found at http://www.uoregon.edu/~osmirnov/gre/list.html
Read the word, pronounce and spell it together, write it out
and place where everyone can see it, define it, and use it in a
sentence. The first person who correctly uses the word in
conversation after class can pick the new word and review the
last word learned on the next day. This could net 180 new words
per year, or 2,160 from K to 12th grade for only 5 minutes per
Spend 1 of your 5 minutes to see how many words you can
review from previous days.
A 5-minute vocabulary lesson can also be adapted to the
learning of a foreign language or sign language.
Learn one word a day and follow the procedure above. Choose
from a spelling list in a spelling book you are using, from a
list made up of misspelled words, or from a list such as the "300
Most Commonly Used Words" (making up 65% of written material)
or the 1,000 most commonly used words at
or commonly misspelled words at
Ask your child to write a sentence or paragraph every day.
This could be a 5-minute journal entry at the end of the day or
a report of something interesting he learned which he could read
to Father at dinner.
8. Globe or Map Study
Have a list of map objectives (continents, oceans,
countries, major cities, rivers, lakes, mountains) near your wall
map or globe. Before or after lunch, have your child see how
many he can find in 5 minutes and check them off the list.
You might have your children help make a list of places to
look up and learn such as those referred to in their reading or
studies, on the news, in missionary prayer letters, or on food or
After your children learn the location of the items above,
have them label them on blank maps. For free blank maps see:
9. Time-Line Study
Do the above activity with a time-line and list of events or
people before or after your history class. Or have your child
study your time-line and fill in certain items on a blank one.
These are just a few examples. The goal is to make it
simple, fast, and fun. But these few minutes will deliver big
10. Reading Aloud Together
A tenth daily learning habit that takes more than 5 minutes,
but will prove both worthwhile and enjoyable, is to read and
discuss good literature aloud together.
Some ideas contributed by Cynthia Gill.
Hope for Poor Spellers and Hesitant Readers!
Grade levels 2-12. Painlessly accelerate or catch up
reading, spelling and vocabulary. Students master all words
in each phonetic and tricky pattern by learning a short story.
Christian version available. http://www.beyondphonics.com
Start the New Year Re-Organized
If you have taken a holiday vacation from school work, your
house shows the signs of much happy use, your normal schedule and
chores have been derailed, and you are a little disorientated . . .
it's time to re-organize for the new year!
Basic tools that will help you get back on track are:
1. A Planner. Goals, calendar, and schedules all in one notebook.
Free printable forms online at
2. Monthly Calendar. All family activities, academic goals.
3. Weekly Calendar. Plans for the week, including regular and
4. Daily Schedule. Your time budget to make sure the urgent
doesn't rob time from the important things you want to do.
5. Chore Chart. Everyone knows what to do and when to do it.
6. Lesson Plan & Record Book. Record your plans and check off
what is done, adding unplanned learning when it happens.
7. To Do Master List. Assign items from this list to your
monthly, weekly, or daily lists.
See more detailed information:
Vol. II, No. 15 http://www.TeachingHome.com/Newsletters
Worship Guitar Class (Videos) Vols. 1, 2 & 3 by Jean Welles
Christian Guitar Lessons in the comfort of your own home.
Easy step-by-step lessons. Learn to play your favorite worship
songs with many new strumming and picking patterns. Over
50 testimonies on our website.
10 Tips for Better Family Life
1. Turn off the TV. You can't buy back time that TV takes. TV
also introduces many ideas that are counter-productive to your
goals of Christian home education.
2. Take a walk, ride bikes, or go for a drive together. Time
with your child leads to conversation, which allows you to better
understand each other.
3. Tune in. Really listen to your child; ask about his
interests and what he is thinking about. When your child talks,
don't let your thoughts wander. Listen! You can deal with
issues that your child struggles with if you know what's on his
4. Take time for playing games, wrestling, and cuddling.
Physical closeness is important.
5. Turn toward home. Limit the time you spend going out.
Be keepers at home (Titus 2:5).
6. Tidy up. Declutter, organize, clean. Teach your children
these skills. A clean environment is healthier and helps you
7. Tell your child (and spouse) that you love him, like him,
forgive him, are thankful for him. Say the words and say them
often. The spoken word has power to build up a person.
8. Tone up. Exercise is healthful and increases your energy
level; include your children in a midmorning stretch.
9. Turn on music. Fill your home with God-honoring Christian
music, classical music, and various other kinds of good music.
Play an instrument. Sing to the Lord (Psalm 66:1).
10. Tackle a challenge together. Climb a mountain or work
together on a difficult project. Rising to meet a challenge
together builds closeness and interdependence.
Adapted from an article by Lane Zarr.
Grapevine Studies: An Innovative Way To Teach the Bible
Provide a solid Biblical foundation by introducing your
students to the major characters and events of the Bible using
interactive chronological lessons. Great for multi-level
teaching! K-12. Free Sample Lessons on our website.
20 Questions for New Year's Course Corrections
These thought-provoking questions can help us evaluate our
progress toward important goals of Christian home education.
Of course, we must not be discouraged by our distance from these
objectives. The purpose of considering them is only to alter our
direction if needed and plan our next steps.
1. Bible Knowledge
Has each member of our family increased in Bible knowledge,
Bible study skills, and Bible memory verses during the past year?
(Suggestion: Plan to systematically study God's Word and
learn at least one verse per week. See two Bible study resources
in this newsletter. Read "High School Bible Courses" at
Download free Bible studies at
See the 12-page Special Section on Teaching Bible in the
Jan./Feb. '98 Teaching Home http://theteachinghomen.goemerchant7.com.)
2. Scriptural Perspective
Were the curriculum, supplemental materials, and
entertainment media our children were exposed to in the past year
either written or presented with guidance from a Scriptural
(Suggestion: See "Evaluate Curriculum from a Christian World
View at http://www.teachinghome.com/started/basics/evaluate.cfm.
Read "Reading Shapes a Child's Character" at
3. World View
Is our family gaining and applying the knowledge of Bible
doctrine and principles that make up a discerning, yet
compassionate, Biblical worldview?
(Suggestion: For a Biblical perspective on current issues
and media see http://christiananswers.net/directry.html.)
4. Character Training
What progress have we made during the last year in developing
specific positive character traits?
(Suggestion: Choose one trait for each member of your family
to concentrate on this year based on his individual needs --
love, joy, peace, honesty, diligence, etc. See Special Section
on Character Training and Social Development in the Summer 2000
Teaching Home http://theteachinghomen.goemerchant7.com.)
5. Spiritual Growth
Is our family (and each member individually) growing
spiritually in love and dedication to the Lord?
(Suggestion: Read "Year-Long Study: Fruits of the Spirit" at
6. Useful Habits
Have we developed regular habits of careful grooming and
diligence in work responsibilities?
(Suggestion: Update your weekly chore chart, and be sure
everyone knows what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.)
7. Family Teamwork
Does our family work as a team, each one pitching in to help
as they are able?
(Suggestion: See 13-page Special Section of Family
Relationships in the Nov./Dec. '99 Teaching Home
Is our time and space well-planned and organized?
(Suggestion: See the article "Starting the New Year
Re-Organized" in this newsletter. See the 12-page Special Section
on Organization in the July/Aug. '98 Teaching Home
Is our home characterized by a positive atmosphere of mutual
love, understanding, and respect?
(Suggestion: See the article "10 Tips for a Better Family
Life" in this newsletter.)
Are our children involved in our lives, and we in theirs, as
much as possible?
(Suggestion: Make sure you spend time with each child in
each of these areas: playing, working, talking, listening,
learning, reading, problem-solving, praying.)
(20 Questions continued below.)
Build a Biblical Foundation of Knowledge
Systematic way to learn all the basic doctrines of the Bible.
Multi-sensory, question & answer, memory verses, songs,
Bible stories, review games and crafts. Visualized for ages 3 to 12.
Non-consumable. Spanish also available.
20 Questions (Continued)
Do we provide good examples of virtue, self-discipline, and
learning for our children, both by our own lives and through
their exposure to literature, media, and friends?
(Read "Pass on Your Skills and Standards" at
What experiences have our children had in the past year that
have broadened their perspective, built their background
knowledge, and inspired their thinking?
(Suggestion: Plan to go on a family or group field trip each
month. See the 9-page Special Section on Field Trips in the
March/April '99 Teaching Home http://theteachinghomen.goemerchant7.com.)
Do we understand our children's individual abilities,
strengths, weaknesses, concerns, and recent changes?
(Suggestion: See the article "10 Tips for a Better Family
Life" in this newsletter. See articles about learning styles in
the March/April '98 Teaching Home http://theteachinghomen.goemerchant7.com.)
In what ways have we motivated our children to learn or
stimulated their interests this year?
(See Special Section on Motivation in the March/April '96
Back Issue which includes 26 ways to motivate your child at
Have we established clearly understandable standards of
behavior that we require of our children and do we consistently
administer appropriate consequences for both compliance and
(Suggestion: Read "What the Bible Says about Child
Training." Five excerpts are free online.
Read article, "Child Training" at
16. Thinking Skills
Do we encourage our children's logical reasoning, critical
thinking, and problem-solving skills through questions,
discussions, and assignments?
(Suggestion: Look for future newsletters with questions for
building reading comprehension. See 12-page Special Section on
Creativity in the Dec.'91/Jan.'92 Teaching Home
Have our children thoroughly mastered the foundational
skills they need at each level to progress further?
(Suggestion: See the article "Daily Academic Habits" in this
newsletter. See article "Teaching Academic Basics" at
See 14-page Special Section on Reading and Literature in the
Sept./Oct. '98 Teaching Home
http://theteachinghomen.goemerchant7.com. See the 14-page
Special Section on Arithmetic in the Jan./Feb. '99 Teaching
18. Connected Knowledge
Do we regularly make connections in our discussions and
assignments between facts from separate areas of knowledge?
(Suggestion: Do a large or small-scale unit study. See article
What educational resources, tools, games, and reference
materials have we provided for our children? Which have we used
this year? Which would be beneficial to obtain or use more?
(Suggestion: Basics include a child-friendly dictionary,
encyclopedia [free online encyclopedia at
http://www.britannica.com], globe, maps, timeline, Christian
20. Life Skills
Which life skills has each child practiced this year and
which are they ready to learn next?
(Suggestion: Life skills include personal habits,
organization, handling money, home management, social skills.
Read "High School Home Economics" at
See the 14-page Special Section on Life Skills in the Dec.'90/Jan.'91
Back Issue at http://theteachinghomen.goemerchant7.com.)
While we may not be able to immediately act on all the ideas
inspired by the forgoing questions and suggestions, we can at
least make a note of them and pray for wisdom in selecting those
that should have top priority.
Let us pray for our own and all other Christian home-school
families to be strengthened and encouraged for the opportunities
that lie before us this coming new year.
Please Thank & Support Sponsoring Advertisers!
These free newsletters are made possible financially by the
fine suppliers who advertise. Please remember those that have
advertised in our last issue (below) as well as the ones in this
issue. Thank you!
Moms for Life. Rid your home of toxic products; home business.
Writing Assessment Services. Evaluations and tutorials.
Piano for Life Instructional Videos. 10% discount, free shipping.
Sunny Side Up: It Could Be True!
After our church Christmas program, Jacob, 5, and Steven, 7,
filed out and received candy canes at the door. Amy, 4, was with
me, and we were talking to some friends. When we got to the car,
Amy realized she didn't get a candy cane.
I told Amy, "I guess we were busy visiting while they were
Jacob replied, "That's right; see, `Busy talkers get nothing.'"
We call this Jacob's proverb.
Sent by Dede C., California
You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.
God Loves You.
Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died
in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ
as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9).
To Unsubscribe. Please reply to this message and type
Unsubscribe in the subject line.
Change of E-Mail Address. Please send your name, old e-mail
address, and new e-mail address.
Sign up for a Free Newsletter Subscription at
For Information on Advertising in this newsletter, reply to
Newsletter Archives. http://www.TeachingHome.com/newsletters
E-Mail Newsletter Reprint Policy. This newsletter is
copyright 2003 by The Teaching Home. Permission is given to
forward or to print and distribute this e-mail in its entirety.
Individual articles from this E-Mail Newsletter may be reprinted
unedited in their entirety.
Print the following at the end of the article(s): "Copyright
2003 by The Teaching Home, www.TeachingHome.com. Reprinted
We do not give permission to post articles on a website.
Reprints from The Teaching Home Magazine. Fill out
a Request Form and note the reprint policies.